Why Shaun White Sucks as a Human Being

Shaun White is a world-class snowboarder, there’s no doubt about it. He’s a three time Olympic gold medalist, and holds the record for most gold medal wins in the X-Games. He's known as the “flying tomato” in regards to the luscious, long, red hairstyle he so proudly wore during his early snowboarding career. And unbeknownst to most us, he is also the head of a rock band that he created called “Bad Things.”  Although, due to his recent and disturbing “gossip” comment regarding a 2016 sexual harassment law suit against him from former band mate, Lena Zawaideh, "flying tomatos" seem to be flying from all directions at the athlete himself.

During a 2018 PyeongChang news conference, multiple interviewers asked White if the sexual misconduct allegations would ruin his Olympic reputation. His response was, “I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff. Outlash from the Internet quickly followed and with good reason.

You see, comments such as this one from White, in regards to sexual harassment allegations, are exactly the kind of rhetoric that perpetuates rape culture and dismisses it's victims. The allegations against White were far from “gossip,” as Zawaideh had more than substantial evidence to support her claims, including text messages where White engaged in sending sexually explicit dialogue and videos to his professional colleague—behavior that would undoubtedly be considered as sexual harassment. To make matters worse, after Zawaideh ended her involvement in the rock band, White refused to pay her properly.

Most horrifying is the fact that White had the audacity to refer to his obscene and dangerous behavior towards Zawaideh as “gossip," which is so unbelievably offensive to every individual, man or woman, who has been a victim of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. It is a prime example of the arrogance and sense of self-entitlement that sexual predators and perpetrators feel they have, the power they feel they exercise over every victim they’ve hurt. My biggest question is why? Why do these individuals feel that they have the right to subject another human being to such despicable behavior? Why do they feel comfortable in defending themselves, and why do they feel like they can undermine the experience of the person they hurt by chalking it all up to an instance of “gossip?”

It’s people like Shaun White who perpetuate the sick and horrendous rape culture of today. It’s people like White who are shinning examples of the worst kind of entitlement. Its people like White that show the rest of us how one individual can demoralize another, can dehumanize them to the extent of them being a mere and insignificant object. It’s people like Shaun White who make me feel sick to my stomach.

And there he is, standing on top of a podium, accepting yet another Gold Medal…

I think there is some light to this situation however, due to the extensive media coverage of his offensive behavior. I have seen a great deal of articles and news statements pointing to the fact that White is perpetuating rape culture with his comment and because of the recent "Me Too" movement, I do believe that change is coming. Victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment are ending their silence and coming forward. I send my thoughts to Lena Zawaideh, as it must be traumatic to see her sexual aggressor on top of an Olympic Podium, praised by all. But let this be a reminder, that even our "American heroes" can be rapists, sexual aggressors, and violators.